Things I Can't Tell You

Dear you,

There are a lot of things that I am feeling and working through right now. Things you aren't even aware of. The last few years of my life have been a journey. I've seen deep bottoms and beautiful highs. I've seen tears streaming down my face from aches and wounds that I didn't know exist and I've seen laughter until my stomach hurt. Life is interesting that way -- in the middle of some of the worst experiences there is joy and laughter. I think that is one of God's gifts to us -- that deep bellyaching laugh that comes from some unexpected source in the midst of some of the deepest pains we've experienced.

I can't share any of these things with you -- the tears, the deep pains, the bellyaching laughter -- you wouldn't understand it. You would tell me to "man up" and muddle through because life is a series of hurts.

I can't share any of this with you because, if I'm honest, most of the pain comes from you. For as long as I can remember, I had to live up to your standards. I learned the lines of your face and the movement of your limbs in the same way that an actor memorizes lines -- knowing what comes next. I won't pretend there aren't good memories, but more often than not, the bad ones take center stage.

I remember you telling me you didn't like me -- my "religion" and how I talk about God, my friends, my personality, the music I listen to, the way I dress... the list went on and on.

I remember the nights I hid in a closet because I knew the next lines on the script and I didn't want to cross path with the character that you had become.

I remember all the times you picked apart the things, places and people around us and I learned to subconsciously do that to myself -- slowly, piece by piece picking apart all the things I knew you thought were wrong with me.

I remember holding my tongue when I knew my opinions and feelings contradicted yours because it was your way or no way.

And I grew up. And I carried it all with me -- all my imperfections, all the ways I'm not good enough, all the ways you don't like me -- and it shaped how I lived, how I acted and the people I surrounded myself with.

But I am getting older now and all I want right now is to be happy. Not that life doesn't come without any complications or struggles, I know that, but I want to be able to enjoy who I am -- to be who God made me to be without any fear of what you might think or say.

I want to dress how I want to. I want to cook. I want to laugh. I want to go on drives and get lost with friends. I want to love people around me. I want to pursue event planning and hospitality. I want to serve in ministry. I want to, one day, have a family of my own. I want to know who I am in be confident in that.

I want to live without the heaviness of not being good enough for you. 

I know one day I will get there -- with the help of my God, who is already transforming me in ways that I can't even begin to describe, the family He has given me, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers -- He has given me such a support system.

I love you and I always will but I am letting go of the hold your words have on me and I am praying that one day, we can have the kind of relationship that I dream of.

Until then and with all my heart,
Jess


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